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Brand Stories- Story No. 2

When Prime Minister Nehru asked JRD Tata to start India's first cosmetic brand 🇮🇳

The story of Lakme 💁‍♀️

( A Thread🧵 )

#IndependenceDayIndia2020 #AatmaNirbharBharat #15August
1) It was the early 1950’s. India had just won its freedom and the economy was shaky.

Upper middle class women were spending valuable foreign exchange on western cosmetics which was draining the country's Forex Reserves.

#women #India
2) This was disturbing Prime Minister Nehru as the Indian society was in its nascent stage and maintaining Forex was of the utmost importance.

 So, he came up with the idea of starting an Indian cosmetic brand.
3) Nehru personally asked JRD Tata to solve this problem as he was known for his entrepreneurial ability.

Never one to back off from a challenge - JRD Tata began to study the situation carefully and came up with his own cosmetic brand.
4) To appeal to Indian ladies, the brand had to have an aspirational touch- but at the same time be affordable to all classes.
5) After much deliberation, he decided to call it Lakme--incorporating the dramatic and glamorous appeal of the French opera after which it was named.
6) Interestingly, the French name 'Lakme' is actually a western derivative of the Indian Goddess of Wealth--Lakshmi.
7) But there’s no way Indian ladies would be buying anything called Lakshmi kajal or lipstick- and so Lakme it was.
8) In 1952, Lakme started operations as a 100 percent subsidiary of Tata Oil Mills.

Simone Tata, the Swiss wife of Naval H. Tata, joined as managing director in 1961 and took the company to new heights.
9) It was Simone who was largely responsible in making Lakmé the household name that it became.

It helped that she was a European lady and understood where exactly to steer the budding beauty brand.
10) As time went on, the brand continued to keep growing.

In 1998, Tata's eventually sold Lakme to Hindustan Unilever for Rs 200 Crores as Tata's felt that Unilever would be able to do better with the brand because of their expertise in the FMCG sector.
11) Hindustan Unilever continued to do a good job of growing Lakme and made it into one of the best selling cosmetic brands in India!
12) Today, Lakme's annual sales exceed Rs 1,000 Crores and it is one of the most important brands owned by Hindustan Unilever!


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